Claudio Roditi's "Impressions"

When a musician comes home, he is often rejuvenated by the sights and, more importantly, by the sounds which gave birth to his musicianship. But he also returns with new musical conceptions and insights. Such is the case with the exceptional Brazilian-born trumpeter Claudio Roditi on his Sunnyside debut, Impressions, an ingenious hemispheric blending of John Coltrane's music with the samba and bossa nova, recorded in Roditi's hometown, Rio de Janeiro in 2006.

Roditi, an exuberant and inventive trumpeter, blessed with decades of sideman experience with some of the most stellar jazz giants, including Dizzy Gillespie, Paquito D'Rivera, Jimmy Heath and Herbie Mann, and with over a dozen recordings as a leader, is joined on this outstanding date by his international quintet: the Franco-Algerian-Brazilian saxophonist Idriss Boudrioua, Italian-born pianist Dario Galante, and Roditi's Carioca (natives of Rio) homeboys, bassist Sergio Barroso and drummer Pascoal Mereilles. The band drapes Coltrane's “sheets of sound" in a dancing Brazilian blanket, highlighted by Roditi's romantic and robust hornlines. “All the tunes were recorded from the first take; only two had double takes, recorded at different tempos," producer Jacques Muyal writes in the CD's liner notes. “The music that resulted in this CD is Claudio at his best in the language at which he excels--jazz and samba. Taking jazz standards and giving them a samba beat is the quintessential Roditi style. We had done it [on], Jazz Turns Samba, which was recorded in New York City. This time, Claudio was amplifying the same idea, but with the best musicians of Brazil. And to paraphrase the writer Jean-Paul Sartre, who insisted on hearing jazz only live, 'Samba is like bananas, you have to eat them on the spot.'"

Indeed, save for an in-the-pocket rendition of the magnificent pianist/composer Joao Donato's “A Ra," and the leader's Antonio Carlos Jobim-juiced “Bossa do Brooklyn" and “The Monster and the Flower"- co-written with Brazilian guitarist Ricardo Silveira - the CD's ten tracks serve up some tasty-tempoed takes on Coltrane. The processional pulse of the samba and the bossa nova are effortlessly synchronized with the North American swing on “Moment's Notice," the modal masterpieces “Impressions," and “Giant Steps," Speak Low," “Come Rain or Come Shine," and “Bye Bye Blackbird," with Roditi's irresistible muted trumpet.

Like a triumphant Odysseus, Claudio Roditi has returned home with musical powers gained from his impressive life-journey. Roditi studied in Brazil, Austria, and at Berklee School of Music with Alan Dawson and Tony Teixeira. He moved to New York City in 1976, and established himself as a sideman with stars like Charlie Rouse, Paquito D'Rivera, Herbie Mann, and Slide Hampton. In 1988 Roditi joined Gillespie's United Nation Orchestra, while establishing himself as an artist in his own right. His recordings as a leader include Red on Red (Greene Street, 1984), Claudio (Uptown, 1985), Slow Fire (Milestone, 1989), Two Swords (Candid, 1990), Samba Manhattan Style (Reservoir, 1995), Jazz Turns Samba (RTE, 1996), Claudio Roditi and the Metropole Orchestra (Mons, 2002), and Smile (Nagel-Heyer, 2006).

Which brings us to Impressions, which proves that you can go home again, in swinging style. “When Claudio is scheduled to appear anywhere in Rio, the return of l'enfant prodige sells out the place instantly," writes Jacques Muyal. “For Claudio, this recognition is taken very seriously... All jazz musicians in Brazil idolize him--for his playing as well as his career with the great masters of jazz worldwide."

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